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Old 03-18-2007, 03:41 PM   #1
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I'm planning on leaving my boat moored up for 3 months afloat. Can anyone advise how best to leave the diesel engine i.e. is there some fuel addative or drainage technic, or something that one shoud do? Or is 3 months unattended OK. My main concern is the deterioration of the fuel in the tank and lines. Advice please.
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Old 03-18-2007, 05:10 PM   #2
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Lloyd,

I'm certainly no expert, but...

But I believe it's always a good idea to keep the fuel tank full in order to minimize air space and thus reduce condensation in the fuel tank.

And I'm not too keen on fuel additives.

Kirk
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Old 03-18-2007, 08:15 PM   #3
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Here's a link to BP guidelines on storing Diesel fuel. This is BP Australia, reason winter is April to August. They're the experts - note the comments regarding additives.

Edit - I forgot the link! (tough to get old)

http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/a...rage_diesel.pdf
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Old 03-22-2007, 12:14 PM   #4
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JeanneP.

Thanks for the "BP" link. There is nothing like factual information for problem solving. As you know, reliable diesel fuel is our life blood for safe passage in and out of many ports of call.

Thanks again,

George
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Old 03-22-2007, 01:06 PM   #5
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Something more I've learned since my last post. We have been having difficulties with our fuel and fuel filters, starboard engine only (in case you don't know, we've gone over to the dark side, and now live on a power catamaran).

When we first took possession of the boat in Florida, we were driving the boat north to New York for the summer when our engines lost power dramatically. Although we suspected that it was fuel filters, Peter decided to have a diesel mechanic look at the engines since the boat had been bought used and he felt that it was prudent to have a professional look at it. As it turned out, the fuel filters were clogged, and looked as if they hadn't been changed since the boat was first put into service - one looked rusted into the filter housing.

Fast forward six months and 18 months later. Again, we were having difficulties with clogged fuel filters. yes, one of our mistakes was that we didn't clean the fuel tank, but in our defense, it was difficult to do and we figured that with the amount of fuel we used that the entire tank had to have gone through the filters several times. Peter decided to install vacuum gauges on the fuel lines to give us warning when the filters were clogging up, to save us the anxiety of the engines losing power dramatically with no warning - with a seriously overactive imagination then taking over.

The guage for the port engine looked good, but the starboard gauge, right the the installation, showed elevated vacuum. Peter scratched his head, switched everything to determine what was the source of the blockage. When every possible combination had been tried, the only possible problem seemed to be the Racor filter housing itself. Lo and behold, we installed a new housing and everything is now fine.

Since then, we have heard of another boat, a sailboat, whose engine problems turned out to be a badly clogged and fouled Racor filter housing.

It was easier to deal with our sailboat's fuel problems. The tank only held 44 gallons of fuel and pumping out the fuel to visually inspect it, and cleaning out the tank was quite simple. The years we spent in the S. Pacific and SE Asia meant that much of the fuel we received was probably not filtered at the pump (filters are expensive; even in the US we've experienced pumps with badly clogged filters). We had to finally pump out all the fuel, let the gunk settle out and pump off the clean diesel at the top of the jugs, disposing of the ditry fuel/water mixture at the bottom, and clean out the tank with a rag on a stick through the inspection port. Smelly, dirty, but worth it. Fuel filters are expensive, our time is much cheaper.

Jut a heads up - skills acquired on land aren't necessarily enough when you move onto the boat.

Fair winds,

Jeanne
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Old 03-22-2007, 05:58 PM   #6
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Jeanne,

Thanks for that explanation. I've been having the same trouble having recently bought a sailing boat that had been laid up for quite some time. I cleaned out all the lines and the tanks, only to forget to clear out the connectors from the pipes connecting at the top of the fuel filter. Easy mistake, but... Only later did I find these clogged very badly after they had caused major 'heart stoppers' on a couple of occasions when departign port. I won't overlook them again!!!! Now all seems to be cured.

I am also reliably infomred that the tanks need to be as full as possible with fuel to limit air and diesel surface interaction, thus reducing coagulation of the fuel molecules. Different diesels have difference rates of detoriation. Please don't ask me which are which.

Enjoy your new power boat and keep our discussion board here up to date with your activities.
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